BY DANIEL RAKOWER
Doctor Strange is most definitely the weirdest movie I have seen all year in terms of visuals, but the story itself is not as strange as the title character suggests. It’s all in all not a surprise from Marvel Studios, delivering a action packed thrill ride that kept me on my toes throughout the whole film.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the brilliantly talented Doctor Stephen Strange, a world renowned surgeon with a penchant for bragging. Due to a car accident in which he injures his hands, and the rapid treatments that he violently demands, his hands now shake uncontrollably. He seeks out help in the most remote places, eventually ending up at the doorstep of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). With the help of her magical teachings, Strange embarks on a truly psychedelic adventure through different dimensions, filled with magical artifacts and populated by a cast of colorful characters, such as the rigid and stauch rule follower Master Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the no-nonsense library keeper Wong (Benedict Wong), and the rogue zealot, Master Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), the film’s primary antagonist and villain.
While the story is a bit generic, submitting to Marvel’s formula of “arrogant guy gets knocked down a peg, learns to be a hero, and faces off against what amounts to an evil version of what they could be,” Doctor Strange’s strengths lie in its execution. The execution of its story beats, changing up some of the established marvel formula with outlandish and trippy visuals. The way it alleviates some of the more serious or far fetched parts of the movie with some down to earth humor, such as seeing Strange’s creative way of getting books out of the library when he’s not supposed to, is also a huge positive for the film, giving these wizards and sorcerers some real human moments. The film also excels in the effects department, crafting beautifully trippy set pieces and mind-bending physics that are incredibly easy to get lost in. The environment responds to the fighters’ commands that makes the setting almost feel alive at some points. The way magic is realized in the MCU going forward makes clear the difference between the mystical and the scientific, marking a clear gap between the magic of Doctor Strange and the hyper advanced technology of Thor.
Doctor Strange marks a point in Marvel Studio’s Cinematic Universe endeavor, and paves the way for a lot of the more magical and weirder elements of the Marvel Universe in the comics to come to life on the silver screen.